walkitout: (Default)
I occasionally mention my first Amazon order, because I placed it _before_ I went to work there, and mentioning that during my interview made my interviewers happy and thus more inclined to hire me. I mention it in other contexts as well. A co-worker and I were debugging a problem and used my personal account to check something out with a tool. When he saw my customer number, he did a double take because it was one of the lowest he had ever seen (I had something less entertaining but comparable happen recently at a local consignment shop).

Anyway. BI had a little article about how to find your very first order on Amazon, which used to be a PITA, but some years back Amazon made accessing older orders a smooth and easy process so it's not hard at all. Here is the BI piece.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-see-your-first-ever-amazon-order-2015-7

And I thought, oh, hey! I can do that and it is another opportunity to be all gloat-y.

So here is a screenshot of my oldest order. I had attempted to special order it through University Books and/or Elliot Bay and either/both failed, so I tried to get it through Amazon.com (holiday present for then boyfriend; we both went on to be early employees of Amazon) and succeeded very quickly.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 7.45.21 PM
walkitout: (A Purple Straw Hat)
Long, long ago (under 20 years, but not by much), I put together my first website. It was really simple, but it included a catalog of my books and a piece of code I had written to access it. That piece of code was the one piece of code I had that didn't belong to some previous employer, to prove that I could do what I said I could do. It got me a job at a bookstore.

Anyway. The computer the website lived on belonged to a boyfriend, so I didn't have any meaningful access to it after, er, a certain point; also, it was not well maintained for a period of time prior to that. Along with the catalog (which I never really recovered, but eventually switched to LibraryThing which worked better anyway), I lost my online cookbook. Part of the rationale for having a cookbook and my catalog online was so I could look up recipes when Elsewhere (using a desktop computer, because remember, Long, Long Ago), and look up what I owned when Elsewhere (usually because I was trying to remember if I'd already bought something or not). Both of these needs persist in my life.

In any event, sometime Later (but still a long time ago), I recovered a lot of the website files using the Internet Archive/the Wayback Machine, and then proceeded to more-or-less maintain the cookbook. It's never been as complete as I'd like and it has never had pictures.

Well, it dawned on me that all my photos are now on Flickr, and I can use HTML embed stuff to make those pictures show up on a website, without having to deal with further storage issues. I don't actually take a lot of food pictures, and I haven't tagged all my photos so finding the food photos is not completely straightforward, but I did find some for the Pizza, Spinach Cornbread and Chocolate Cake pages.

http://www.seanet.com/~rla/cookbook/pizza.html

http://www.seanet.com/~rla/cookbook/spinach_cornbread.html

http://www.seanet.com/~rla/cookbook/chocolate_cake.html

Now on the projects list: when I cook stuff, take pictures of it (especially if I've already gone to the bother to put up a recipe for it), upload to Flickr and embed the HTML on the recipe page.
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I'm just going to preface this by saying: I'm completely serious in thinking this diagnosis belongs in DSM-V. If you're looking to see if this was posted on April 1 or other indications that I'm kidding, I'm thinking bad thoughts about you as a person because you aren't paying attention.

The current manual for coding diagnoses in the mental health field is the DSM-IV-TR (4th edition of the DSM, text revision which means some words were changed but structure wasn't and new sections weren't added or sections deleted, more or less). The fifth edition (DSM-V) has been in process for a while. As of the end of April, this is the entry for "Caffeine Withdrawal":

"A. Prolonged daily use of caffeine.
B. Abrupt cessation of caffeine use, or reduction in the amount of caffeine used, followed within 24 hours by three or more of the following symptoms:
1. headache
2. marked fatigue or drowsiness
3. dysphoric mood, depressed mood, or irritability
4. difficulty concentrating
5. flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, or muscle pain/stiffness
C. The symptoms in Criterion B cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
D. The symptoms are not associated with the direct physiological effects of another medical condition (e.g., migraine, viral illness) and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder."

http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevision/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=553

You can go there and read the Rationale Tab; I'm not reproducing it here but I will provide an unprofessional and likely inaccurate in some important way that is not obvious to me summary. People who drink coffee or otherwise consume caffeine regularly who stop get the worst headache of their life and it lasts for days and it makes them less able to perform at work or school and cranky to the people around them. People who consume caffeine have to arrange their lives for regular supply or risk having this occur and it can be highly disruptive if their usual routine for getting it is interrupted. When these people stop drinking coffee without realizing this can occur (or for reasons not under their control such as hospitalization or institutionalization), the resulting symptoms can trigger a testing cascade that is expensive, pointless and potentially dangerous.

I will include one paragraph from the Rationale:

Benefits of Inclusion of Caffeine Withdrawal

"As reviewed above, many caffeine users may have caffeine withdrawal and misattribute it to other causes or ailments. If patients and their health care providers were more aware of caffeine withdrawal symptomatology, unnecessary health care utilization and costs could potentially be avoided. For example, caffeine withdrawal should be ruled out when patients present with headache and other typical caffeine withdrawal symptoms before administering expensive diagnostic tests or medications. For example, a simple 2 day caffeine abstinence test could assess for caffeine withdrawal headache and might eliminate the need for more expensive diagnostic procedures. In addition our anecdotal experience is that often psychiatrists ignore the possibility of caffeine withdrawal as a cause of headaches, fatigue, depression, etc. This may occur often when patients are admitted to caffeine-free inpatient units. The inclusion of caffeine withdrawal as a diagnosis in the DSM-5 will engender an awareness of this potentially clinically significant syndrome."

So the next time you're thinking that no way could so-and-so have such-and-such a problem because of a criterion like "C. The symptoms in Criterion B cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.", bring caffeine withdrawal to mind. We all know about it. We tend to be dismissive about it. We tend to forget that the consequences of it going _undiagnosed_ can be substantial. By "diagnosed", I don't mean, "going to a neurologist every time you decide to cold turkey off coffee so it starts working for you again when you go back on". I mean "know that this can happen". The writers of DSM-V have an expectation that patients can and will self-diagnose for this and intend by including this in the manual to help them do that self-diagnosis better.

Interested in an example of how inclusion in the diagnostic manual works its way out to ordinary people like you or me?

Sample news coverage:

http://health.msn.com/healthy-living/signs-of-caffeine-addiction
walkitout: (Default)
Several years ago, my husband R. was complaining about the small (2 lbs, often, never more than 5 lbs) of organic whole wheat pastry flour I bought. Since I paid for them and I did the grocery shopping, his argument was a little difficult to understand. But he's a frugal man (one of the reasons I love him) and he has a sort of instinctive revulsion to consistently paying more for something than you have to.

In the course of a long and involved discussion, I explained that even if you could buy the stuff in bulk (which, at least where we lived, you couldn't), I wouldn't want to, because it has to be stored in the freezer. The wheat germ oil starts deteriorating as soon as the flour is ground and it just gets worse and worse over time. I said I was not going to buy a chest freezer just to save some nickels on hypothetical bulk organic whole wheat flour (pastry or otherwise). Because I am an unremitting nerd, however, I did note that one could buy organic whole wheat berries (assuming one could find them) and a grinder (assuming it wasn't outrageously expensive) and grind the flour as needed. One would not need to freeze the berries.

Inevitably, I wound up searching online for a source of wheat berries (Eden Organics is my current favorite, although I have bought from Bob's Red Mill as well) and a mill (I have a Nutrimill and like it enough to have bought it as a present for a couple of friends in the ensuing years). It was a completely ridiculous project in every way, and I would regret it, except for one important fact: freshly ground whole wheat flour tastes way, way better than any stored whole wheat flour. There's no bitterness at all.

Makes it easy to switch over to whole wheat flour in all kinds of recipes.

When I was reading about my Mennonite ancestors and their arduous journey in the 1870s from Russia to North America (my batch went to Canada, but many went to the United States and there was significant back-and-forth, marrying and traveling, as I've noted in posts about my Holdeman Mennonite relatives), I knew that wheat was really central to their world. They'd had to find or develop (I'm still not sure which) new strains when they moved from what is now Poland to what is now the Ukraine, in order to have wheat in that (then) new home. Immigration from the Vistula River region to the Ukraine had barely come to an end when the trip to North America occurred.

The wheat my Mennonite ancestors found (or developed) in Russia and brought to North America was better than many strains already being grown in the United States (land of corn in the maize sense, rather than the grain sense). As I'm reading _American Chestnut_ by Susan Freinkel, I am running across the usual genealogical temptations and resisting them carefully. But I also ran across a story about "Mark Alfred Carleton, the USDA expert on foreign-plant introductions". He grew up in Kansas and, like the kid who vows to become a doctor after losing a family member to trauma or cancer, "became determined to find wheat varieties that could survive in that unforgiving land". Seeing the Mennonites doing better than others, he found out why, then went back to Russia to find Kubanka (a durum) and then later to Siberia, where he came back with Kharkov (a hard red winter). Carleton enters the story of the American Chestnut when Pennsylvania is making a heroic but ultimately failed final attempt to stop the blight through quarantine.

Despite _buying_ wheat berries (I buy 50 lb bags of soft white and hard red winter, using the former for baked goodies and the latter for bread and an arbitrary combination of the two for things which seem intermediary between the two to me), I'd never given a lot of thought to the specific strains I was buying. Superficial (google) research hasn't answered that question, either (other than that Eden is hard core about avoiding even drift pollinated GM grains). Research _did_ however suggest that the strains Carleton brought back from his trips were not the same as what the Mennonites were growing in Kansas.

Lucky for us, some Slow Food people are attempting to rebuild the strains the Mennonites of Kansas were using. It is aptly named Turkey Hard Red Winter Wheat (which is on the other side of the Black Sea).

http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/programs/ark_product_detail/turkey_hard_red_winter_wheat/

and

http://www.heartlandmill.com/turkey.html

Maybe that'll be my next order, and another bridge from genealogy into "real life" (altho at the moment, I've having trouble finding berries; they seem to only have flour).

GAMEO on the subject of wheat (unusually chatty for them but as always a carefully considered article): http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wheat

Before you comment, _yes_ I do understand that Turkey Red Winter Wheat doesn't thrive in Manitoba.
walkitout: (Default)
I decided that it was entirely possible that we had some problems on our end. I rebooted my machine, explicitly flushed the dns cache and then started looking at some of the problematic websites using ping. Things had improved: there were a couple sites that I previously couldn't load at all, and now loaded really, really really slowly and without pictures.

When R. got home, he rebooted the router and that improved things further. Ping still indicated that there was heavy packet loss for the servers in question. Next up: will farm town work now?

bluefire

Dec. 13th, 2010 09:33 pm
walkitout: (Default)
My extremely bright facebook friend C.H. responded to my previous post looking for a way to read DRM'ed adobe stuff on the iPad: he suggested Bluefire. The app (at least currently) is free, and their website supplies very clear directions for how to get a DRM'ed epub or pdf onto the iPad.

I now have the Columbia University Press book I'm reading thru Netgalley on the iPad, the kindle and on the Macbook. Maybe I'll figure out a way to go to a particular location in Bluefire and use it for tracking Sources; it would certainly be more convenient than using the laptop for that.

ETA: Wow. I had to look at the help screen to figure out how to get to navigation from within the book: tap the _center_ of the page. It works really well and is very clear once you know that little detail, but I was trying all the edges because that's what I'm used to on the kindle. Live and learn.
walkitout: (Default)
The Lady of Finally Sending Things (and family) sent me a kindle ebook as a gift! (Not a reader, dear reader, but content, lovely content, about the solstice, so seasonally delicious as well!)

I got e-mail with a link. I clicked on the link. I was looking at a detail page with the option to change who I was logged in as, and an "Accept" button instead of a "Buy" button and the usual drop down pick-your-kindle menu to decide where I wanted it to wing its way to first.

Nice! A very clean implementation. I am now torn between a _lot_ of reading options (_Frontier of Leisure_, which I was reading until I was waylaid by a netgalley review copy, and then two _more_ netgalley review copies -- good thing I only asked for three, hunh? Who would have thought I'd get all of them? Anyone who has participated in Amazon's Vine, probably, but those people are way ahead of the curve compared to me), thus, I FEEL RICH!!!! I have BOOKS! Wheeee!

Can you tell it's cloudy and 50 degrees here? I feel all bright eyed and bushy tailed because it's Seattle weather here in my home in New England. Well, not the kind of weather Seattle has been receiving lately, but you know what I mean...
walkitout: (Default)
I downloaded adobe digital editions as part of this so what's up with the university presses and the ebook revolution obsessive research project. Also, I got takers over on netgalley and have a couple of books to read. While I was waiting for the kindle version to arrive, I thought I'd check out the other option.

Download was easy. There were two options to identify myself; I opted to go with the adobe account, rather than the per computer thing. Everything worked the first time, which is very good. I downloaded the file from netgalley; my MacBook asked if I wanted to open it with Adobe Digital Editions, so clearly it has already taken over some stuff, which I'm okay with. File opened readily.

Where's the page turn button.

Wait, _that_ is the page turn button?

You _have_ to be fucking kidding me. You call _that_ a page turn button?

I can't stop laughing. I'm going to go eat a waffle now. Hopefully I won't die from choking because I can't stop laughing.

ETA: I did not choke on the waffle. I am currently using the kindle to read the book (despite formatting problems which I feel confident will be corrected in the final version. They'd better be.), and the adobe digital editions to track the sources. I tried a bunch of other things involving bookmarks and none of them made me happy. And while it is possible for numbers in the text to be linked to the sources at the end, neither this book, nor several others I've read lately (including _Boardwalk of Dreams_ and _Frontier of Leisure_) have done so. Which is a bummer.

ETAYA: Oh, yeah, and adobe digital editions does not work on an iPad. I feel confident there's a way to read this thing over there (I'm betting Nook would read it, for example), I haven't pursued that yet.
walkitout: (Default)
I'm hanging out here at the house with my daughter, doing a little vacuuming, stuff like that. R. took T. to run some errands. Occasionally, A. wants my help getting something down from a shelf, or an assist on a little pretend play (give monkey a bottle, help monkey play on the dollhouse tricycle, etc.), but mostly we're doing very, very little. She requested in to the big tub, but I'd just put serious Balmex on her for rash and didn't want to undiaper her just yet. In she went, with the water on trickle: more fun than a water table.

While all this is going on, I have Bloomberg on the downstairs TV and I'm wearing the headphones, one earpiece on, one off, so I don't lose track of what's going on with A. Reid Hoffman is being interviewed, which is very mildly interesting, but he keeps repeating something that just does not sound right to me: academics write books for an audience of 50-60. _I_ read a couple dozen monographs a year, and I'm just a dilettante trying to keep the boredom at bay.

When I had the chance to do a little googling, I found some stuff from the second half of the 1990s about print runs of monographs, and just what precisely constituted a monograph. The print runs were a lot smaller than I had realized: 600, with the assumption that half would be bought by academic libraries and half by individuals. These would be books with no undergraduate audience. There was also an interesting article about whether academic books published by university presses differ from academic books published by commercial presses in terms of circulation in academic libraries. Given how I've felt about several recent commercial press published "academic" books, I'm a little scandalized at the idea that university presses should just let the commercial folk have the field. Not that anyone is seriously proposing that. I don't think. Yikes.

Anyway. One of the articles was at this online journal, which really felt like striking gold when I went to check out what the current postings were:

http://www.journalofelectronicpublishing.org/

[ETA: Volume 13 Issue 2 Fall 2010 issue, in case you read this at some time in the far flung future and it isn't completely obvious.]

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Let the Wild Geekitude Begin! Er. Ahem.
walkitout: (Default)
I'm reading _A People's History of Science_, which I'll be posting about (along with some rambling about Spaceship Earth at Epcot) later on. However, I just want to say one thing here.

I'm really kind of tired of hearing about Jacob Nufer, the pig-gelder who did the first "documented" (does that really count when the documentation occurs well after all the participants involved are dead?) c-section in which both the mother and the child survived. I mention it here in part because I find it doubly obnoxious that Conner tells the story without mentioning that the woman in question was Nufer's wife (who else could the woman possibly have been?). The story is also problematic, as it sets up a questionable circumstance in which the moral of the story is that the woman in question and 13 midwives failed, but the pig-gelder delivered. If there's a feminist issue with specifying the marital relationship, there should be a feminist issue with telling the story at all, given the crappy nature of the documentation.

Finally, Europeans traveling in Uganda and Rwanda in the 19th century (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/cesarean/part2.html) saw a long-standing and successful practice of c-section. We don't know how long that had been going on, but it may well have predated. Given the documentary problems with Nufer, relating Nufer and not mentioning the possibility that African experience was in advance of European practice at a later date smells like Eurocentrism.
walkitout: (Default)
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/science/07bees.html

This is kind of cool. The article plays up some of the serendipitous aspects to make it more of a human interest story, but the real tale here is that some very brute force techniques have identified a fungus + virus in all the analyzed bee colonies.

I have this weird feeling we're going to be vaccinating beehives a few years in the future. What an odd world we live in.
walkitout: (Default)
Yeah, curation is really a word, and I'm pretty sure that's what I meant to say.

I have been extremely hazy on exactly how things would work if I bought something on one device and wanted access to it on other devices: specifically, if I bought an app on an iPad, would I have to syn both iPads to my MacBook to move it from one iPad to the other. One day, I decided I just couldn't be bothered, and attempted to rebuy an app (specifically, bubbles, altho I don't know why because my children are shockingly uninterested in it). R. had bought it through my account for T.'s iPad. When I attempted to rebuy it on my iPad for A., it gave me a prompt saying I'd already bought that one, did I want to re-download it.

Now _that_ is the way it should work.

I have not yet explored how the whole book and music thing works out.
walkitout: (Default)
This time, it is a very mild head cold/respiratory thing, not a stomach bug, so I guess that's something.

In unrelated news, I took T. to the Apple Store at Pheasant Lane and bought him the bottom end iPad and a very, very padded case for it. He also rode the little train and the little bus coin-op ride, and we got Munchkins. Needless to say, he had a great time. The iPad was intended to be a Christmas thing, however I was sick and tired of the kids fighting over who got to play with _my_ iPad. The new iPad is officially T.'s, mostly for watching videos (mostly Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). The old iPad is still mine, however A. has a couple apps on it that she loves, so whenever she starts climbing up on the hutch to get the little computer, I get it out and start it up for her. It's motivating her to improve her ability to point, so I guess that's something.

The second dollhouse (for B.'s house) arrived today. I did not unpack it, since it's going over there anyway. I am mildly curious what it looks like in person, but it's another Plan Toys thing so I have a good idea.

Yesterday I went to the consignment shop in West Acton and bought A. some doll furniture for the baby dolls: a bed, a wardrobe, a chair and a high chair. Very cute. Very not the kind of toy I ever thought I would be buying. To make up for it, I ordered an appalling amount of "sensory" toys. We'll see how that turns out. I also picked up an umbrella stroller for B. to have for A.'s use when they go to the mall.

We're loving the new Bob. We had a Sport Utility Stroller, which we passed along to B. since A. is finally outgrowing the Britax stroller we'd had from birth (the one that fit the car seat and the other seat for it could face either direction). I bought a pink-and-brown Revolution, so it has the swivel wheel that you can lock. Very nice, but the directions for the weather shield do not match the weather shield, which is a little confusing. We also bought a second Needak, for B.'s house. We haven't quite decided whether we're giving her the new one or the old one. On the one hand, the new one folds in half, which is very cool in terms of sticking it in the van and taking it with us on overnight trips. On the other hand, we're not sure how T. will react if we swap the rebounder. I'm in no hurry to find out, either.

Kafkaesque

Sep. 12th, 2010 03:59 pm
walkitout: (Default)
Specifically, the stuff about Adrian Schoolcraft.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/414/right-to-remain-silent

Wow. Really creepy. In some ways, I want to blame cop culture, but I have to also admit that a huge chunk of this story has to be about what happens when you reward and punish based on metrics, especially metrics involving a computer. People do some bad crazy shit when a computer has some numbers that say thumbs up thumbs down -- especially when a little fudging can change those numbers and thus, those thumbs.

I used to say it was important to make sure you were measuring the right thing, that measuring the wrong thing was worse than useless. More and more, however, I am questioning whether measurement is ever a good idea. That desirable certainty is a little too desirable, and all too often, also fraudulent.
walkitout: (Default)
I'm reading _Blind Descent_ (about which more later), and just starting the second half, which is about Krubera, a supercave which is in the Arabika Massif. The entrance is in the Ortobalagan Valley.

Now, when _you_ look at Ortobalagan, do you see right/correct + beluga whale? I did. And I was pretty sure that wasn't exactly right. I _think_ the correct interpretation would be "upright" for ortho/orto, and great white for balagan. I'm less certain about the "great" than the "white". I don't understand Russian at all, much less the finer points of its suffixes. Honestly, I'm hazy on whether this is Russian or Ukrainian or something else...

The white makes sense: the massif is limestone with a fair amount of silica in it. The valley is probably pretty straight up and down on the sides. Very descriptive! Weird that it survives so totally into English; I'm assuming that is a transliterated name, not a translated name.

ETA: Almost certainly this analysis is incorrect. Altho I'm not sure I believe any of the alternative explanations.
walkitout: (Default)
There's been some loose talk about giving ebooks and why kindle does not support that. The reasons I can imagine fall roughly into three inter-related categories: UI problems, privacy and spam/abuse concerns and relative importance.

I believe this will be the first winter gift giving season where most people receiving gifts might plausibly be assumed to have the ability to read a kindle ebook. This is not to say that they own a kindle or have ever even seen one in real life. But most people could get a free kindle reader and read a kindle ebook on a PC, Mac, iPhone or iPad or iTouch, blackberry, etc. This was not the case in previous winter gift giving seasons. Thus the relative desire of people to give ebooks has gotten much more fulfillable in principle and is therefore more important to Amazon to implement.

If Amazon implemented a gift feature that let anyone with access to a browser send free ebooks (or a message to that effect) to any email address, Amazon would be inviting spam of a variety of forms. (Some obvious ones: can you just imagine religious organizations bombing every email address they could lay hands on with their scripture of choice? Or some marketing organization posting a spiel as a free book on amazon and then spamming it to everyone?) It might also incur large cellular costs. And that is ignoring the massive PR debacle. (Massive PR debacle could still occur if, for instance, someone got hold of a list of schoolkids' emails and sent them all copies of Nabokov's _Lolita_. Hell, copies of Huck Finn would work, for that matter.)

That brings me to the real problem where all the solutions lie as well. Here are my predictions for how Amazon will implement giving ebooks for kindle.

First, they will require the giver to log in to a valid Amazon account with one-click settings turned on. This will prevent most spam and simplify the screens in the gift process. It should also slow underage kids down somewhat.

Second, they will not let you give free ebooks. I further bet they won't even forward a recommendation of a free ebook.

Third, they will not let the giver know whether the recipient owns a kindle or whether the recipient already owns the book. They better not or there will be trouble, because this would be a massive violation of privacy and I could see public figures being targeted.

Finally, they will need to have a limit on who you can send gifts to. They can give the recipient the option of declining the gift in favor of store credit, but I doubt they want to get involved in unclaimed property laws. I am guessing they will limit recipients to either Amazon account holders or at least people who will round trip a response to a email notice that someone gave them a gift.

Here's what I think it would look like to a giver:

I go to Amazon. I browse for books. Assuming my one-click settings are turned on and Amazon thinks it knows who I am, when I'm looking at the detail page for a kindle book, I can click on the buy now button. It'll show me the list of which-kindle-to-deliver-it-to, and the bottom option would be "this is a gift". Alternatively, there'd be a separate buy-now button which would be buy-this-as-a-gift.

At that point, you'd be dropped into the confirm-your-password, and from there, it'll need to collect some information about who the gift is for. I think it'll want an e-mail address, and if it doesn't know that e-mail address already, it'll say something like, sorry, you can't send directly to this e-mail address, but you can invite them to sign up (sort of like the they-don't-have-a-wish-list page). If it does know that e-mail address, and that person hasn't opted out of (or failed to opt in for) receiving kindle books as gifts (more on that momentarily), it'll then do the little do-you-want-to-send-a-gift-message dance. They might do something really nice, too, like let you send a gift message that shows up in the notification e-mail, and separately provide an "inscription" for the ebook, which would be a special case of annotations in the ebook.

From the recipient's perspective, here's what gift giving would look like. You'd have the choice of _not_ receiving kindle ebooks as gifts: either an opt in (yes, I would like to let people send me kindle ebooks) or an opt out (no, I do not want to let people send me kindle ebooks). I don't think it matters which one they choose, but someone out there probably could generate some pros and cons.
[ETA: Wow, another two minutes of thought answered that question. I think they'll make it so if you've bought at least one kindle e-book for yourself, you are opted-in and have to opt-out manually. If you've never bought a kindle e-book for yourself, then you have to opt-in manually. They can stick on the opt in/out page all the boilerplate about how they handle the ebooks you don't either download or opt for store credit on, thus solving the unclaimed property legal problem.] Once someone send you an e-book, you'd get a message from Amazon saying you had received a kindle ebook as a gift. There would be a link letting you go to some part of Manage Your Kindle or Manage Your Account or the Media Library or somewhere. That link would give you some choices. It might say, hey, we know you already own this as an ebook, so you got a credit in the kindle store for this amount. Or, it might say, somebody sent you this ebook. Would you like to accept it, or would you prefer to get a credit in the kindle store for this amount. If you accepted it, then you'd get to decide which kindle to have it sent to. Press this button to send a thank you message to the person who sent it to you might be an option, too.

Amazon might put up a little message on your home page when you log in, telling you you have gift ebooks in the wherever it is center, if you haven't followed up based on the email yet.

The worst part is trying to explain to people what to do to send a kindle book as an ebook if they are not logged in and/or don't have 1-click settings set up. They could supply screens: basically put a button on every kindle ebook detail page saying buy-this-as-a-gift, and then walk you through identifying the recipient (since there would be no point in making someone supply payment and all if they can't give a gift to the person they want to give it to), then collecting identifying information and payment information from the sender. This is an absolute nightmare, however. If the sender doesn't have an Amazon account and/or doesn't have payment information set up, odds are that is because they have some sort of issue with the process. They might not like e-anything. They might not like turning over credit cards online. Whatever. If they are really inexperienced and start mucking about with the back button and what-all, it is just going to be an unpleasant experience all around. It is entirely possible, however, that Amazon doesn't want to roll out a gift giving process that doesn't have a solution for this particular set of issues (giver doesn't currently have an Amazon account and wants to _not_ have an Amazon account, but wants to send someone who owns a kindle an ebook this winter gift giving season). The small number of people who won't have an account with Amazon and do want to send a kindle ebook as a gift is going to involve some noisy ones who complain online loudly and in (possibly inaccurate) detail about how it didn't work for them.

The above would be the long form of what I previously referred to as nasty, hairy problems with coding up a way to let people give kindle ebooks as gifts.

One might reasonably ask, but how would it work if you were shopping on your kindle? And the answer to that will be, I doubt it will work in v.1. If, indeed, it ever becomes possible to buy a friend an ebook from your own kindle reader. Just thinking about it makes me nervous.

ETA: The interaction with the wish list should work _beautifully_.

ETAYA: It might make sense to do a more fine-grained setting on who can send me ebooks: anyone can send me vs. anyone in my address list can send me vs. no one can send me. Probably not a v.1 feature.
walkitout: (Default)
On the one hand, it ends with this comment:

"please breast-feed.”

How much can I really hate that, right? But it includes this remark:

"The complex sugars were long thought to have no biological significance, even though they constitute up to 21 percent of milk."

Really? I'm not complaining about the author; I'm prepared to believe the author was correctly describing the state of understanding of breastfeeding in science-y/medicine-y circles. But really? 21% of breastmilk is a mystery to you, so you conclude "no biological significance"? That's right up there with, hey, it's DNA that doesn't code for protein. Must not do anything at all, right?

Here it is:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/science/03milk.html

The news is basically, hey, look, this stuff the baby doesn't digest coats the baby's gut (surprise? I thought we already knew that?) and nasty things that might make the baby sick instead latch onto this stuff and the baby doesn't get sick. Yay. Some anomalous commentary that I cannot make any sense of:

"The complex sugars, for instance, are evidently a way of influencing the gut microflora, so they might in principle be used to help premature babies, or those born by caesarean, who do not immediately acquire the bifido strain."

I thought the babies got this stuff from the boob? What has _that_ got to do with preemies or c-section babies? I nursed A. while they were closing. Preemies receiving kangaroo care nurse. Preemies unable to nurse can be given expressed breast milk. What's the problem? Well, I mean other than poorly run hospitals adhering to practice standards that have been proven less than optimal for decades...
walkitout: (Default)
From _The Hundred Year Diet_:

"Exercising was said to be useless, since it was purported to be scientific fact that a person would have to walk at least 30 miles to lose a pound. The converse, that walking 1 mile a day for 30 days would keep a pound away, was for the moment conveniently ignored. Time magazine quoted a physician at an AMA meeting in Chicago as stating that to lose a pound, you would have to climb the Washington Monument 48 times or do 2400 pushups. What was the point?"

There are a variety of things that could be done with these sentences. I'm not going to get into whether or not there really was a physician who said that at the AMA meeting.

Strictly speaking, I don't think that converse means what the author used it to mean. More or less like I don't think the NPR author meant "exponentially" in its strict sense a few days ago. Whatever.

The author says "purported to be a scientific fact" that 30 miles = a pound worth of calories. Purported is technically correct in the sense that that's what people were saying but 30 (flat and a relatively good surface) miles really _would_ take off about a pound. Then she _does not_ say "purported" or "alleged" or "was believed to be" when she quotes the AMA meeting attendee saying 48 times up the obelisk = a pound. Which _it does not_. As near as I can tell, 48 times _up_ the obelisk would = a pound and a half or thereabouts. 48 times _down_ the obelisk would equal about half that -- call it three quarters. 48 times up and down (since you can't really repeat one direction any other way) would equal over two pounds but probably less than three, assuming you kept level hydration throughout the process. Which would be tricky.

I sort of wonder about an author writing about diets that uses purported and converse and doesn't point out the suspiciousness of that obelisk calculation. Just because you're writing history doesn't give you any excuse for sloppy writing or innumeracy.
walkitout: (Default)
Rather than meaning what it clearly means, because _he_ can't figure out how it got to Europe doesn't mean it couldn't be done. R. and I are currently arguing about possible routes. He seems worried about freezing on a water route south of the Cape of Good Hope and wonders what would happen if you took it across a desert. Me, I'm not so concerned; those people were clever, and there was a lot of money riding on it.

ETA: According to this source:

http://www.gallowglass.org/jadwiga/herbs/Easternspice.html

People were sprouting it by the end of the 16th century.

BUT this is a 1542 recipe for making candied ginger called green ginger:

http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-SWEETS/Cndied-Ginger-art.rtf

Who the f* knows. Probably context dependent.

ETAYA: By 1845, definitively after our period, green ginger is the first ingredient in making candied ginger:

http://www.theoldfoodie.com/2006/04/lord-mayors-easter.html
walkitout: (Default)
I had to ditch Spivey because she had such screwy ideas. I'm a little concerned about Albala; in a summary of what Europeans were eating during the 1500-1800 time frame, he asserts that the pumpkin "may have arrived from Asia in classical times, or it may have come from the Americas." He also says that "the very fact that they could also be found as far away as China within a few years has led some scholars to suggest that they may have reached Asia even before they did Europe", regarding capsicum. And, "Perhaps more difficult to explain is the fact that corn was also grown as far as China by the early sixteenth century. This suggests that corn may have reached Asia from the Americas even before Columbus' encounter."

*sigh*

If he included any sources for any of these, it would be trivial to decide what to think of this. As it is, I'm just going to call bullshit and say, hey, pumpkins did _not_ arrive from Asia in classical times, and while Asians may have cultivated peppers and corn more quickly than Europeans, they did not lay hands on them any sooner than Columbus' first arrival in the New World. I don't have any trouble at all believing that Columbus might land a few times, and within the decade, China would be growing everything their spies could collects seeds. That sounds about right to me, anyway.

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